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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  October 29, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. stay safe. "hardball" starts right now. facing the storm. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. welcome to the second live edition of "hardball." let me start with the society and leadership that faces it. this is not the first storm that this president has led us through. he came into office facing the worst wall street collapse in decades. a jobless rate spiking in the double digits. republicans sitting under their desks saying no, no, this can't
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be happening, every step that the president took to regulate wall street, reform health care, equalize pay between the sexists to end the war in iraq and of course to cut off al qaeda's head. this has brought so many storms, both natural and manmade stands on post near the same situation room where he directed the killing of bin laden. he's the officer in charge through perilous times. the eye of the storm is expected to make landfall in southern new jersey or delaware within the hour. it will battle the northeast into tomorrow. wind gusts between 60 and 80 miles per hour have been reported along the coast. all the way from massachusetts down to mare land. winds will get stronger throughout the night. it's caused massive damage. in atlantic city, part of the boardwalk is gone that we all grew up with. widespread flooding with parts of ocean city, maryland, and
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delaware is under water. midtown, manhattan, police closed off streets where a crane collapsed and remains dangling. more than 1.6 million homes are without power and trains, subways, and other transportation systems have been suspended. nearly 14,000 flights have been grounded. we begin our coverage tonight with nbc's tan truong. what's been developing along the water? >> reporter: well, the water is rising as high tide will hit around 8:00 and that's going to be the true test for rehoboth beach. in the hours going from 8:00 p.m. here throughout the evening and into midnight and well past midnight, he's worried that as
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the tide starts to increase and we get more of the winds coming off shore, it's going to push the water that you've seen behind me inland and up around this board lock and this is the same concern that you'll hear along coastal delaware. right now they have 6600 -- that's the latest count, 6600 power outages. so far, though, the good news is that they have no fatalities that they know of. this area right here of rehoboth beach and delaware area was under a mandatory evacuation area. and the governor said all options to leave have been pretty much thrown out. and it's going to be a likelihood that you're going to have to hunker down. there are no stores opened because all businesses were ordered closed as of yesterday. very few gas stations. so there are very few options for people to leave. i want to show what the constant
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tide has done here. try to take a look here as i walk down. because of the water coming in and because of the tides coming in, it's really washed away some of the areas of the beach here and as it has been coming in, you can see the sand burrowing in here. this was the boardwalk that was renovated with stimulus money. that's the major concern. as we go from the evening into the midnight hour, it's going to be pushed up here and you're going to see more beach erosion. the emphasis now, the governor says, is that the most important thing, there are no fatalities that he knows of. very few rescues and for now everybody is safe, chris. >> how are you getting out? are you going to get out? it seems like you described the gee agrafee of the spare there. is there no way to get out of rehoboth tonight? >> right now they have the roads and bridges blocked. you'll have to have credentials and i.d. to get through. they are emphasizing for people
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to stay put. if you get stuck there are first responders probably at this point responding to real emergencies and if you aren't here and out and about unnecessarily, you are causing more trouble and unnecessary danger for the first responders that would have to be reserved and preserved for rescues and that sort of thing, chris. so at this point, the governor is emphasizing everyone to stay inside and hunker down. most of the storm has blown on shore and he still believes that the flooding is going to occur overnight and doesn't want anybody around here unnecessarily getting into danger. >> okay. thank you very much, tha thanh truong. now for what the storm means for politics, we're joined by chuck todd. chuck, you're at the white house tonight. right behind me i keep thinking that the president is holed up here now. >> he is.
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>> forget politics itself but what has the president been doing in terms of protecting people against the storm and its dangers. >> there's the official stuff, which is approving emergency deck cla r declarations, which speeds up red tape, bureaucratic issues to get money to the states, allows states to spend money that they don't have because the federal government will back them up. stuff like that. then there is getting the briefings from his national security team, sort of the homeland domestic security team. that's john brennan. janet napolitano, and then of course chris fugate who is the head of fema but he was brought in as sort of -- he was jeb bush's head of emergency planning in florida during that period, if you recall, when florida went through four hurricanes. all of the other states didn't seem to do it and this guy was
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seen as nonpartisan super emergency management person, if you will. and that's the guy running fema. the president is getting constant updates. you've got to wait it out. you've got to find out a middle storm. and you're managing and brought everything in and waiting for the storm to pass to figure out, okay, how bad is the cleanup? right now it's just hunker down. >> hold on. we got an update. sandy is now a post tropical cyclone, still very powerful and expected to make landfall in one hour right near us. let me show you a picture. this is chris christie who is affected by this situation. he's speaking very positively of a democratic president.
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>> i thank the president for his telephone call inquiring about how things were going here and assured him that things were going well. so far he invited me to call him at any time if things are not going well. and so we'll make sure that we do that and appreciate the president's outreach today in making sure that we know that he's watching this and is concerned about the health and welfare and safety of the people of the state of new jersey. >> and, chuck, here's the president himself speaking on this topic of the weather today. here he is, president obama. >> this is going to be a big storm, a difficult storm, and the great thing about america is that when we go through tough times like this, we all pull together. we look out for our friends, our neighbors, and we set aside whatever issues we may have otherwise to make sure that we respond appropriately and with swiftness and that's exactly what i anticipate is going to happen here. >> what about the impact of the
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election, sir? >> i am not worried at this point about the impact of the election. i'm worried about the impact on families and i'm worried about the impact on our first responders. i'm worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation. you know, the election will take care of itself next week. right now our number one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives. >> put that in perspective what we just heard. i mean, give me a real world look at what we just heard. the president of the united states being rewarded from a republic republican, chris christie and i see the president very cool right there. very cool. >> there is always a big point of emphasis, when they recruited fugate to do that and signed off on jeb bush to do this, there was this hangover from katrina
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going back in the bush administration and there's always been a point of emphasis, if you will, on fema by the obama administration. i think frankly it won't have mattered who came into the presidency in the post katrina world there was going to be an emphasis on fema. you weren't going to let that get politicized. yes, it's a political appointee and you're going to have somebody who came with a background to do this stuff. so i think that they realize that it's a high-wire act, this emergency management business. and most of the time if you do a good job it's good politics. if you blow it, it's really bad politics. >> i agree. >> it can be unrecoverable politics. so this is a case where good politics and good public policy and good management all converge. it's good politics to do a good job. you're not playing one side against the other.
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>> you know, i've always thought that the democrats being the government party because they believe in government more than republicans owe a greater debt, a greater responsibility to be good at it, right? this is a little more ideological but it seems to me if the democrats are going to defend the federal government's role in our lives, they better be good at executing it and that there would be a double blow if you don't do it right. >> look, i think the times when the democrats have been dealt electoral blows, it's, wait a minute, you're the party of government, you're not running it well. >> yeah. >> and i think that you're on to something there but, look, there are certain people that put an extra emphasis on it and considering what happened with katrina and the hangover to that, there was just always -- it's not that fema has any fewer resources than they had before. it's just a different type of emphasis that it gets and different type of urgency that i feel like mr. fugate brings to
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the job. >> we realized how important it was to coordinate through one agency. i want your reaction. that is something -- i was covering, of course as you were, the democratic party. this is a pretty good speech but not a great speech from the president accepting the nomination for re-election. here's a point where the crowd around me just went wild. i want to you put that in perspective with this, with what is happening right now. here is the president giving his acceptance speech in charlotte. >> i recognize that times have changed since i first spoke to this convention. times have changed and so have i. i'm no longer just a candidate. i'm the president. >> you know, chuck, i wonder when it becomes an advantage of
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being an incumbent, all of the things that he may have inherited, may not have inherited, which ever way you look at it, this may be an opportunity. who knows. what do you think? because he clearly thinks it might be. >> not only that, the romney campaign believes that it might be. they wouldn't have canceled their events and said, we're going to see this turf. we're not going to try to compete on this front. we're not going to try to have competing events or look tone deaf, try to isolate a couple of days and hope that you can get back on the campaign trail. the fact of the matter is, there's no party of this -- this race is frozen in place like this. >> yes. >> any professional that looks at this realizes that's a great way of doing it. the caution flag is out and everybody is sort of doing their laps in place and when the green flag comes down, there will be a quick sprint but i think the tone will change and i don't
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think this helps -- it certainly -- it hurts romney in two ways. one, the romney has got a job to do. mitt romney has nothing to do during this crisis. the president has stuff he can do. that's number one. and, second, if romney felt as if momentum was starting to take hold here and he had this opportunity to start talking about minnesota, all of that is gone for three days, at a minimum. >> something you may not have thought of, although you think of everything, i think this is going to zap some of the poison out of the race. >> i competely agree. i think the tone changes a little bit. however, biden did the youngstown event today. it was still pretty partisan and there were tough hits on romney but i do think from the two principals, the surrogates will be pretty tough but i think for mitt romney and from barack obama, for the last six days of the campaign, assuming it does start up on wednesday again, i bet it's a slightly different tone. >> i think mother nature might
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take over. thank you, chuck todd. great reporting and analysis, as always. coming up, we'll continue to track sandy as it bears down on the east coast now under an hour, by the way, from making landfall. it's out there coming close. back with more after this.
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welcome back to "hardball." there you saw it. did you see that crane going down in manhattan? it's a very powerful tropical storm and an hour from making landfall, sandy is. you just saw a partially collapsed crane there that we got on film and it hangs precariously. rehema ellis is live at the
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scene. this has become iconic with what is happening with the situation. >> reporter: it really has. the crane is starting to sway with the gusting winds, the high, gusting winds that we have. if it was dangerous before, it is absolutely frightening now. police were afraid that this would happen so they created this collapse zone. no cars, no pedestrians. they evacuated the apartment building, the commercial buildings, even the guests from the meridian hotel. nothing is happening where the luxury high-rise apartment is. they want to get experts to see if they can figure out how to secure it. we're told because there's no power they would have to walk up 74 flights of stare. but with these winds gusting now, the mayor of new york city, mayor bloomberg says it could be upwards of 70, 80, miles an hour. it's anybody's guess as to
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whether or not they could do anything to secure it or they've just got to wait for the storm to pass. chris? >> can you tell us something about the warnings of the floods that are manhattan? >> reporter: one of the things that they are afraid of is that there could be that flooding. that's why the mayor and city officials went ahead and shut down the tunnels and subways because the last thing you'd want, you've got electrical power lines down there. they are taking all of the precautions that they possibly can take. >> joining me by phone is governor martin o'malley, chairman of the governor association across the country. you're a major figure in the country and here we are confronted with a major weather story, eight days before a national election affecting governors, senators, the president of the united states, the leadership of this country. how does this come together?
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separate it for us or join it together, the weather and the politics. >> oh, i have no idea. i guess you could put a metaphor together with the wind and two fronts converging on the nation's capital. when these emergencies hit, one of the things that really come forward is an executive's ability to pull people together and to be able to protect life in the path of this very violent storm. we've had people here from the federal government for the last two days. the president signed our predeclaration right away and the coordination is actually very, very good. we're as prepared as you can be for something that's totally beyond your control like this huge storm. we're already seeing power outages across maryland and it's going to be a long tignight. we do have the new improved fema
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here. >> one of your neighboring governors from delaware said earlier that it should deserve a ten right now. we've heard very good words from governor chris christie from new jersey, a republican, of course. saying very good things about fema. how important is that agency? i bring that up in a partisan sense that in the recent debate of june of this year, governor romney -- former governor romney bashed it saying we don't need it. the states can handle these emergencies. >> these are the occasions when people say why it is that they pay taxes and why they have a government. fema was so broken and so dysfunctional back in the days of heck of a job brownie and the miserable way that we failed to protect and respond and help our citizens in new orleans to recover and under president obama, actually in a much improved fema and honestly, you know what, the republican senators say the same thing and i'm glad that they are saying it in the face of this storm.
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the truth is that the public safety, emergency preparedness should be nonpartisan and there are certain things that we have to be able to find a way to afford to do and protecting the public in the face of big emergencies is one of them. so it's been really inspiring to see the way that men and women have come together in our state, our national guard and our friends from colleagues from fema and crews and fast water rescue teams from states like south carolina and texas. this is a moment when we put aside the politics and focus on protecting life. >> well, it looks like we're getting landfall right now in the state of delaware. when you go to bed and night and put your head on the pillow, what do you worry about happening in the next 12 hours? >> i think the biggest worry that i have is really the potential for loss of life from those unpredictable tides in the chesapeake bay, especially when these winds are so unpredictable and also the damage that can be
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done to human beings when trees fall on homes and we're going to see a lot of trees get knocked over and a lot of power lines getting knocked over in this long, violent night ahead. >> some of the trees in d.c. where i live -- or work rather. i live in mare nd are. these trees were planted decades ago. not of them have root systems and they go over, they topple. they don't even break. >> you know, i guess given some of the experiences that we've had, i'd like to believe that the strongest trees have survived. we lost a lot of trees in the duracho and i'm looking at the outages and see that cecil county up in the northeast. chris, you can almost see by looking at the power outage map, you can trace the track of the storm. the northeast is taking it hard. 41% of the people in cecil county are without power. so far, knock on wood, we haven't seen those sorts of numbers in the washington
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suburbs but this thing is so damn big it's going to stretch across our entire state. >> governor martin o'malley, one of the sharpest governors out there. back with hurricane sandy in a minute. i'm a conservative investor. i invest in what i know. i turned 65 last week. i'm getting married. planning a life. there are risks, sure. but, there's no reward without it. i want to be prepared for the long haul. i see a world bursting with opportunities. india,
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welcome back to "hardball." we're waiting for sandy to make landfall. more than 2.2 million homes are without power in the mid-atlantic states and the northeast. now the politics of this storm and the presidential race, editor of the daily beast and joy an read. jim, i haven't talked to you in a while. but i made a mistake, it was jane bern who benefited from the machine out there. tell us about what your experience is as a general reporter to what weather can do
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to elections. >> chris, i think as we said before it takes snow and i'm a native new yorker, and very weak response to a huge snowstorm. he lost in chicago in 1979. in the early '90s, a couple of washington bad storms, marion barry's stock plummeted. >> give me the reason for that. why do people have a big scorecard in their heads and hearts about weather and how politicians handle it? >> because if they are deemed to be responsible and affected and efficient, they are allotted. remember, herbert hoover won in 1928 because of what was deemed to be good performance as commerce secretary overseeing the response of the mississippi river flooding. the next year, huey long wins governor ship of mississippi.
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and in 1994 benefitting from a huge earthquake but the opposite is what we have seen in new york city, chicago, and washington where you're perceived to be ineffectual. >> in the middle of katrina when president george w. bush, the most recent president, acted like he was completely out of touch with reality when he said that his fema director, michael brand, you're doing a great job brownie the federal government has one responsibility, mainly to protect the country and then congratulated the crown. >> you have to remember, too, when hurricane katrina made landfall, george bush was at john mccain's birthday party. you have those pictures of him enjoying -- they were playing the guitar and hanging out and then his administration's really horrible response which is
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ironic because george w. bush's brother, jeb bush, is still popular in florida because of the ee fish ensee with which he would handle florida and a lot of the reason that he is still popular in that state. >> explain the connection between jeb and president obama. >> and president obama very rightly has hired the hurricane spoon guy that jeb bush used in his administration. he was always considered nonpartisan and he was somebody who made jeb look really good and now he's working for fema. he's heading fema for barack obama. >> let's go back to james warren. the question now on the table, here we are the monday before the election, a week out now, it seems to me it's not exactly a time out. for the president is it's a chance to be an executive and for romney to show prudence and recognition as a challenger to the president, not as a president. >> one of his problems is going to be if, in fact, the media is
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focused as it logically is going to be on sandy for the next few days, it drowns out attention that romney wants to get and i think that puts a much greater premium on good old fashion get out to vote efforts in all of these states which are city critical which are not impacted by sandy and it doesn't make it impossible but it raises the bar for getting the collective attention to the campaign. >> here's something in june of last year at a cnn debate, mitt romney argued for turning over team ma and turn it over to the private sector. ee he wish he hasn't said, i think. >> fema is about to run out of money. how do you take on a role like that. >> absolutely. every time you have an occasion that takes something from the
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federal government and it could go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. we're borrowing $1.6 trillion this year than we're taking in. we cannot -- we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. it is simply immoral, in my view. for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off makes no sense at all. >> james, how long do you think it will take after the storm has passed for that to become an advertisement in states affected by this storm? >> i think the romney take on this, if you look at the history of merits like this, it comes up very, very short we have the second highest 96 bucks per person, $60 million direct debt.
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the schools aren't generally working. the roads are crumbling, the bridges are crumbling, and to think that this state has the wherewithal, resources and history of competence to pull stuff off like this is simply an absurdity. >> and think back, chris, to katrina. the response of the state government in louisiana was atrocious and they had to call for help. they had to call 911 and call the federal government. one other thing, when romney was governor of massachusetts, he was not shy about asking for federal disaster aid. there were two big storm and chemical plant meltdown that took place in 2006. he asked for federal aid both times and they didn't want to spend their own money until they found out how much fema, how much the feds were going to send them. >> i think if george w. bush had
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and the heed he had weather down there, if he flown in marine one and handed out water bottles for a couple of days, handed out something, people wanted water. it wasn't like they didn't need it, just be part of that, something like lyndon johnson would have done. the image with not just the african-americans but everybody would have been so different. now the president has to do something -- i assume, starting with you, james, romney will be doing something like helping people sandbag at a microlevel in the next couple of days. what should the president be doing, physically? >> first of all, it's clear that in a weird sense that he's going to try to make -- maybe even coin a phrase a necessity out of virtue. he truly believes the right thing to do is stay away from the campaign trail as long as it
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takes to oversee the federal reaction to this. it may end up being good politics for him but that's what he's going to do. will they decide and one can't expect that, i wouldn't be surprised that even amid this incredible tight race he stays off the campaign trail as long as it takes and that's the right thing to do. >> it wouldn't be surprising, too, and remember the obama campaign has so many young people on the ground volunteering and they are not adverse to the idea of asking people to volunteer their time for the purpose of helping others in those communities. a president's job in these situations is the three c's. it's compassion, competency, and showing that you care about the people without show voting. if he can do those things, i think that the president will look pretty good coming out of this. >> you know, so much of this campaign -- and i say this from both directions -- has been
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petty and mickey mouse, arguing about big bird and stuff like that and the bayonets even. it doesn't matter the future of the country, it's picking up point. don't you think, james? it's catching the other side, i got you, i got you, i got you. and we've lacked the commanding sense. this is damn important, how a country responds to a natural crisis. this is important. >> it's also a reminder that we are not just slowly solo operators, individuals living apart from everybody else in a community, that there is a collective responsibility and i think it plays inadvertently to the basic notion of driving the obama campaign, namely the positive values of government and the fact that there are some things that the private sector just can't do and i think that's a point that's going to be driven home to even some tea party folks and that are going to be saved by the dutiful, loyal, earnest government workers. >> let me go back to the good side here. i've been very nonpartisan here,
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haley barbour, a conservative republican, governor of mississippi, really came out of mississippi looking like a real can-do leader and jeb bush, as you have pointed out earlier, joy, has made a name for himself by dealing with andrew, hurricane andrew down there and other incidents. people do judge people by how you do, not how good you do. >> the closest contact that you have with your governor, you see him impacting your real life is when a disaster happens. they have to be the father in chief the way chris christie -- sort inform a blunt way was telling people you need to evacuate. they have a constant presence on television telling you what needs to be done and giving you the reassurance that the government is there in place and they have to coordinate the response and actually utilize the resources given to them by the federal government and i think, as you said, chris, this is one thing that is completely
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nonpartisan. it was not surprising to see chris christie really praise the president on this because they are in this together. it is a partnership between state and federal government when a disaster strikes. >> and one way to get more of a good thing is to thank the person for the first tranche of good thing. thank you very much, jim warren and joy reid. >> things are happening in this country and it's not all politics. back with more after this. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ] [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do. [ male announcer ] sounds good. a hybrid? most are just no fun to drive. now, here's one that will make you feel alive. meet the five-passenger ford c-max hybrid. c-max says ha. c-max says wheeee. which is what you get, don't you see?
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let's go back to new york city. at the bottom we're going to have michelle franzen joining us. we've been watching that iconic
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spot with the liberty in the distance and all of that water coming at us. >> reporter: absolutely. you can see this water pouring in. take a look. i'm going to take the camera off of me and show these waves coming up. the basin is full, so to speak here in new york harbor. it's starting to lap over, spill over. we've got a good foot of water already. it's expected to go anywhere from 6 and 12 feet. we haven't even reached high tide yet. we have more than an hour to go. of course, one of the areas that was evacuated in and around new york city, the low lying areas. of course, battery park city, residential area, you have the financial district down here as well. everything is shut down. in the last hour, we've also had the bridges linking manhattan to new jersey as well as the island.
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manhattan is truly an island as everyone is told to hunger hunker down. certainly the worst of sandy is coming in now. >> thank you, michelle. reminding us it is surrounded by water. encroaching water. and on the phone to us tonight from point pleasant, new jersey, ron, it's been very hazardous where you are tonight. it's been so hard to get to you. >> it is, chris. yeah. the power is out down here. phone lines are spotty. things really took a bad turnabout an hour ago. it's protected by a pretty high san dune along the beach and they have been breached and there's now water rushing the ocean or rushing through the streets, the main streets going perpindicular and there are not a lot of people around. i'm standing on the third floor
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of a hotel, about three blocks back from the beach looking over the scene and i can see the trees bowing at a very sharp angle, trees are rushing through and many are here in a parking lot and the water would rise into the parking lot where all of the vehicles are parked and the building is sandbagged. so we're all trying to figure out the best position to be in doing some work in the remaining state to explain what is happening here. and it's happening along many places in the jersey shore where the barrier islands are. there's a very narrow distance between the ocean and the mainland and there is inlets and a huge bay that is part of new jersey, from cape may going north and that's the area that's very vulnerable, that's the area where they shut down the main
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thoroughfare and told people not to come in. the eye of the storm hit south of where we are so we're not catching a lot of rain now. it's primarily a wind event and through the night and into tomorrow, it's good news. people are hunkered down here in a safe position. just unbelievable to see this water rushing through town. we knew it was going to happen. we were standing on the dune most of the day. the dune has been completely breached and now this town is being inundated with water from the ocean. >> tell us about the geography. i grew up in ocean city. all of the famous resorts, atlantic city, cape may, ocean
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city all up and down the shore are outer islands. they are separated by the mainland and only connected by causeways or the bridges. what are the chance of all of those people getting cut off tonight and they can't get to the mainland? >> well, they started to evacuate people a few days ago and my sense is that a lot of these areas have been evacuated. we're kind of pinned down where we are here at point pleasant beach. we can't go very far. there are bridges and canals and checker board of water and land. so it's very hard to move and that's why they have shut down the new jersey parkway, the main thoroughfare through the state to all of these areas. i grew up in new jersey, too. and i'm used to coming to all of these places. and, yeah, that area is completely cut off and hopefully people who were told to evacuate have, in fact, done that.
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that's the worst case scenario that so many first responders were talking about this week, is that people don't heed the warnings and now people have to risk their lives to save these people. we heard that there are some did -- we saw a police officer going door to door and heard reports that at least two cases they had to help elderly people out of their home to shelters. but that was much, much earlier in the day when the roads were very passable and now it would be much more difficult. the water -- it's hard to estimate because up three stories in this hotel, i would say that it's easily several feet deep rushing through the city, rushing through this town from the ocean and i would say that i'm about maybe 100 yards or so from the ocean. i can see it in the distance. we don't have power and everything is dark but i can make out an outline of a shore. the whole part of this town is being inundated and i imagine that is the case up and down the
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jersey shore. chris? >> thank you so much. spot on reporting from ron allen for nbc news and msnbc. we're going to continue to follow hurricane sandy. back with more "hardball" in a moment. bob... oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty.
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for androgel 1.62%. what are you waiting for? this is big news. hurricane sandy has thrown campaign plans into disarray. what will be the effects from the storm? john nickels is the washington correspondent for a magazine. a len greg said there's three things to look for in a political leader of any culture. motive, why are they there, passion, what gets them turned on, and three, spontaneity. let's talk spontaneity. how you react to unforeseen events. is this going to display for us ability to be smart in facing something new? >> i think it does in many, many ways.
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absolutely. president obama has a style and personality. we have referred to him often as medium cool. this guy who is maybe a little too dispassionate to be president. but now in this moment, he comes off as in control, very calm, able to handle a tough situation. just on style, it benefits him. from mitt romney, it's a much tougher challenge. he has to stand down at least for a day, perhaps for two days. he's cancelled events in battleground states across the country. so has paul ryan. at a certain point, he must step back into the campaign and he has to do so gracefully. if e he does so in a bombastic way, in too negative of a way, it could block back at him. so both candidates are being called on to fill a role. the trouble is the storm doesn't happen on schedule. it doesn't give them permission on what to show their best side.
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it's especially hard for romney. obama knows his role. he knows what he needs to do here. for romney, it's a much tougher challenge. >> you're teaching me a lot tonight. very impressive on your part. i mean it. good stuff. we'll be right back with more on hurricane sandy and its political power in just a moment. 2013 chevrolet malibu ls, re-imagined from the ground up with 10 air bags and the reassurance of onstar, standard for six months. this is the new malibu -- already an iihs 2012 top safety pick. and now with low lease programs, a malibu state of mind has never been easier to get to, no matter what state you live in. ♪
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let me finish tonight with this storm. they are called black swans, the
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unknown forces that enter a campaign often in the last week that, to use the language of the comic books, change the course of mighty rivers. there was george w.'s admission of the driving under the influence charge. the real crime was leading us into iraq. but the black swan swimming across the american east coast carries with it all the unknowns for which the species owes it's name. it's dark with mystery. the storm will pass, but what it leaves in its trail is still a stranger. i have said for days the power of the first presidential debate would not die until operated on by an outside force. that's newton's first law of physics. that outside force, whichever direction it takes now is now upon us. a black swan now has us on its wings. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us.


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